Functions of the Family

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Assess the view that in today’s society the family is losing its functions. For many years, the family has had a set of functions that every family has had to follow in order to fit in with society. Some of these functions include social control and the gender-role socialisation. Some Sociologists that have explored these functions are Murdock and Parsons. Murdock looks at reproductive, sexual and economic functions. Whereas, Parsons looks at the primary socialisation of children and the warm bath theory. I will be looking at these functions and assessing the view of some sociologists that in today’s society the family is losing its functions.

There are a lot of reasons to suggest that in today’s society the family is losing its functions. Gender-role socialisation was very important many years ago. This aspect of socialisation is that children learn the cultural patterns of behaviour expected of their gender. From a young age, children are taught by their parents about how a male or female should behave. In 2004, Chapmen notes that traditionally a girl would learn the right kind of skills and attitudes to perform their adult role of homemaker and mother through chores and formal schooling. Whereas, boys were aimed at the role of the ‘breadwinner’. They were taught by toning down their emotions so they would have what people thought were the right kind of skills for this job. These sorts of roles were socially constructed by society. Nowadays, gender-role socialisation is less important. Women want more from their lives than just being a homemaker and a mother. Women want to get good jobs so that they can have their own financial income. In today’s society, children are being taught that they can be anything they want to be, and that they don’t have to conform to the gender-role socialisation that society has created. Also, years ago, it was considered wrong to have sex outside of marriage or to be a homosexual. No one believed it was right to have sex before...
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